The previous school year held a host of changes for Communities In Schools of Wilkes County. From our expansion into Alexander County, to a revision of our policies and procedures, to saying goodbye to five long-term board members – the year was eventful and emotional all around.
One change we were particularly excited to see was the addition of two sites in the Wilkes school system: Central Wilkes Middle and Moravian Falls Elementary. For the first time, we were able to serve these two schools with site coordinators.
If you are unfamiliar with site coordination at CIS, these staff members act as liaisons to bring resources, services, business partners, parents, and volunteers into their schools. This collaboration fosters a proven community effort to help students succeed.
Students at Central Wilkes Middle worked with site coordinator Lora Davis this year, who brokered in services such as Smart Girls and Wise Guys – our teen pregnancy prevention program – and Girls on the Run. She also organized special guest speakers for the students, such as Damon Nash who spoke on bullying prevention.
Working at Moravian Falls were Tiger Posey and Amie Rose, where students participated in our Friends of Youth and Lunch Buddies programs, as well as the physical and mental health program Let Me Run. The two also worked within the community to bring in volunteers and donations for the school, successfully securing a dance machine, grill, and over 500 English and Hispanic books through First Book.
The addition and continuation of these new sites was made possible through the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation. In March of 2013, they provided CIS with $50,000.00 for salary support at the above two sites.
Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation is a supporting organization to the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas South Central Community. This is one of six Communities of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, an international order of Roman Catholic women religious founded in 1831. The organization seeks to promote systemic change and assist individuals to empower themselves to improve the quality of their lives.
The foundation’s special heart for women, the elderly, and – specifically – children, made Communities In Schools’ site coordination a perfect fit as grant recipient.
“This is the faith community at its best,” comments Glendora Yarbrough, executive director of CIS. “With separation of church and state an ever-pressing issue of concern and debate, far too many capable organizations shy away from assisting in an area of great need: the public school system. We hope our partnership with Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation shows what CIS is happy to do: offer a safe pathway for faith-based organizations to extend their reach into the school system, wherein they can have a truly beneficial impact on the lives of our students.”
We here at Communities In Schools would be lost without the invaluable support of all our donors, volunteers, and grantors – but we would like to extend a special thank you to the Sisters of Mercy for this generous effort.